News and Notices

Prioritising better physical health for addictions clients

People being treated for alcohol and drug addictions will benefit from a new electrocardiography (ECG) machine recently purchased for Nelson Marlborough Health’s addictions clinic.

An ECG machine measures the heart’s electrical activity to provide information on the heart rate and rhythm – an important health indicator for people who are taking medications such as methadone.

Previously, addictions clients received their medication at the Tahunanui clinic but had to make a separate trip to Nelson Hospital’s cardiology department for an ECG test. For many clients this proved challenging, as reflected in the high number of missed appointments for the test. Now clients will receive their medication, ECG test and other general health checks such as metabolic tests, in the same place during one appointment.

Jane Kinsey, GM Mental Health, Addictions and Disability Support Services, says that this is a great move towards ‘equally well’ initiatives for addictions clients.

jobeth lancaster ECG addictions350Equally well initiatives aim to reduce health disparities between people with mental health and addiction problems, or who have physical or intellectual disabilities and people who don’t.

Photo: Nelson Marlborough Health cardiology technician JoBeth Lancaster demonstrates how to use the new ECG machine to NMH addictions nursing staff.